Enjoy a Roman everyday's scene. "The family-run kosher pastry shop Bernasconi, on Via dei Giubbonari, has only one table outside. Actually one table, period." Picture (and text) by Eleonora Baldwin, from her "Roma every day". Click to enlarge.
This blog is taking a vacation. A one month vacation.
Above you can see a Roman scene as taken by Eleonora Baldwin’s camera. Eleonora is a Roman, but her father is Irish American.
Here is a conversation occurred over at Richardus.
It is about Love.
I paste, as usual, what I deem relevant to my blog themes.
Wow, Love! [Readers will think]
Wrong. No easy stuff … but fun, none the less.
“Aristophanes may search for his other half, but I search for my whole self.
Thrust into a hostile world, I trudge towards my inevitable grave in utter isolation, seeking an impossible solace, never knowing who I am.
Suddenly, I peer into the eyes of another and see myself. Here is my peace, my consolation, my defence.
I claim those eyes to be always with me as I am always with myself. Perhaps I procreate, but only incidentally.
Selfless caring for another is true love. With practice it may become as universal as its source.
Lev Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana", 1908, the first color photo portrait in Russia
Geraldine: I hear Tolstoy in this post and I’m not surprised.
Richardus: How would you unravel Christianity from Anna Karenin, Geraldine? I haven’t read War and Peace.
Geraldine: Your post reminded me more of how Tolstoy thought. For example you said:
“Suddenly, I peer into the eyes of another and see myself. Here is my peace, my consolation, my defence.”
Tostoy was conscious that the soul is godlike and unites all of us [italic by MoR]. The same soul lives in all of us. Emerson also refers to this in “The Over Soul.” The Hindu religion refers to this with the hands in prayer and the bow to each other: The God in me recognizes the God in you. Is this not what you mean?
To answer your question, I unravel Christianity in the novel in a simple way. Even though Toystoy had a profound insight into human suffering and behaviour his writing is morally severe. There is punishment and it is binary. I believe Levin is modeled after Tolstoy.
Anna defies or flaunts the rules of her society and receives a tragic end. Levin achieves fulfillment as a committed landowner and is involved in society. One protagonist lives outside of himself (if this sounds right) the other follows her own needs. Values, sacrifice, self-possession or self-control are scrutinized to the core.
In this work love is not light. It all suggest judgment.
Note I didn’t say that the love is not right. I do not know.
True love is so hard to find and to keep. You paint a lovely picture Richard, of an ideal. Beautifully expressed.
Man of Roma:
What is true love? Everybody is in search for Love, in his /her own way.
While I am studying for my Manius soap I now think of this:
1) on one hand we have sapientiae voluptas (or wisdom’s, knowledge hedonism, since real knowledge implies passion, joy, love, it implies trying to probe – with poetry? sacred books? philosophy? science? – the big mysteries of the universe: death, God etc.
But on the other hand we also have 2) corporis volutpas, ie bodily pleasure, not necessarily vile: at its best it is love for a human being; at its worst banal lust.
A man (don’t know about women, they are more mysterious to me the more I age) is imo torn between 1 and 2.
Plato's chariot in Phaedrus: the Charioteer is our Reason, 1 horse is soul's positive passionate nature; the other horse our soul's concupiscent nature.
1) is the white horse in Plato’s Phedrus chariot (Plato influenced the Jews and the Christians), and 2) is the black horse, especially as for non-spiritual love. Who is riding the two-horsed chariot? It is our Reason.
Now men, I don’t know about women, are badly torn between 1 and 2. If they are not, throw stones at me because I am.
Torn between being a monk (of wisdom, at least tentative) and a libertine? Between ‘the Being’ & Love for a person in flesh? Hard to say.
At times the Woman, for a Man, may take us to God, to the Spirit, to the Being, like Beatrice did with Dante, or Polia with Polyphilo (ie, lover of Polia, in Francesco Colonna’a palatial neoplatonical Renaissance Comedy (Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream) – the anti-Dante – since the 2 lovers finally get united in their love – thanks to Polia – before the Cosmic Venus; yes, no Madonna there, but Venus at her highest level of purity).
Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinità, by Henry Holiday, 1883. Click to enlarge
Now our flight in such chariot towards Platonic Good, the Ideas (or the Christian God, or the neoplatonic cosmic Venus etc.) goes up when reason and the white horse prevail. It tends to flap flap flap down to bodily vile stuff when corporis voluptas, bodily desire, is stronger.
As for myself, num 2 is very powerful. My flight is often low, non-spiritual, my quest vile, although my desire for num 1 – for Good, God and so forth – is never ending, and is bugging me all the time, and each time I flap flap flap a bit higher, I do feel better.
Ok. I am very confused (plus verbose). Asta la vista babies
Well, now Roma, since you seek to distinguish hormonal and spiritual love, I must re-read the Symposium to see what is said there on the subject.
You raise also the matter of Christianity, for which love is the beginning the middle and the end.
Then we have love by love by internet, whose progenitor is love by letter-writing, yet less considered, or maybe less the product of reason.
There is a common thread which I must seek. I may be a little while. :D
You remind me, MoR, of a blond Adonis I knew at school into whose arms a succession of beauties fell, unregretting.
We mortals listened to him in awe. It was a boys’ school, so our knowledge of female anatomy was rudimentary and, shall we say, of a more academic nature. We envied the time he spent on his special study and the joy and adoration he left in his wake.
He went on to become a doctor, the better to develop his talents.
Man of Roma:
I’ll be verbose as usual.
Dear Richardus, sweet Celtic Geraldine:
I was in a boys’ school too, for the reason that, in my Liceo Classico, the headmaster, an absolute moron, decided to create, right on that darn year, one class of just girls and another of just boys (us, alas). So, our knowledge of women was also very academical. And, among us, we also had a brown-haired green-eyed Adonis. So beautiful he was, Tommaso, that he made our ‘female vacuum’ (if one can say that) even more painful: since, each time a girl approached our buddies’ group he quickly seduced her – she was powerless before Him, so she knelt down, and was lost in love – and nothing was left to us.
This occurred again and again.
Oh boy, what absolute starvation for a couple of (very formative btw) years, ie btw 15 and 17. It made us ALL very shallow for a long while as for the other gender: id est, when we met ANYTHING that faintly reminded us of the human female (in an age range btw 13 to 98), she, to us, was just flesh, flesh, flesh. Well, at that age, hormones were active. I, for example, couldn’t easily conceive a girl-friend in the sense of a real ‘friend’. Then I evolved I guess (and hope lol).
Pythagoras. Roman copy of a Greek original. Musei Capitolini, Roma. Via Wikipedia. Click for attribution
Yes, Richard, Plato is the Great Teacher of us Christians. Christ I guess did his part, but Plato is the supreme Magister of us all in the West. Forget Aristotle imo. But let us not neglect Pythagoras, Plato’s real mentor (even if dead long before Plato’s time) according to Plato himself and to many scholars, together with Socrates of course, of which little we know, and in any case Socrates was Pythagoras’ pupil also.
Now, what fascinates me [all readers here now taking a nap, I know] is the link Orpheus-Pythagoras. What a great theme!!
Which leads us into 2 sparkling directions: pre-Celtic North Europe, and India!
But that is a story I’ll try to unfold in the Manius plot.
Manius btw seems that it will be published – I was toasting yesterday with wifey – both in Italian (paper book) and in English (e-book: this version needs bigger editing, it is clear). I just have to finish it in 8 months time in a plausible and entertaining – and hopefully deep enough – way. Hard work, and contrary to my nature, whimsical & undisciplined. But in any case.
Blogger Love, you’ve mentioned.
The Love I developed for you Anglo-Saxons & similar, I guess I owe all to that,. To sweet Richard, Philippe, Mr C, Geraldine, and to ALL the American people, ALL of them etc. You people brought me -I forgot how – into discovering Ancient Britannia, fascinating to me to the extent that I now dream of it, like Giorgio in the plot (who in fact is me, obsessed by the theme).
This Love, dear dear Richard, gave me so much inspiration and happiness.
I read the elegance of you people’s words, I look at the pics you people publish (your houses, your windows so different from ours: they must allow more light, ours less) with so much Love (I now sound corny, I know). And well, yes, it is again the white and the black horse (hyperborea, the American & the British-isles type of Woman), and Reason, the Charioteer, sometimes (or often) faltering in its guide.
But this is the way we are, humans who are not only human, since perhaps there’s some extra sparkle (from somewhere where we came from and are bound to return).
As marvellous Geraldine so gently has told us – in her Irish Celtic, untouched-by-the-Romans, pure, Nordic Female’s words …